US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today acknowledged that authorities missed some "red flags" which might have prevented the Washington Navy Yard shootout, even as he ordered the review of physical security and access procedures at all American defence facilities worldwide.
At least 12 people, including Indian-American defense contractor Vishnu Pandit, were killed by a lone gunman who was shot down after the brazen shooting rampage at the high-security Navy Yard on Monday.
"Obviously, there were a lot of red flags. Why they didn't get picked, why they didn't get incorporated into the clearance process, what he was doing, those are all legitimate questions that we're going to be dealing with. How do we fix it?" Hagel said at a news conference.
"When you go back in hindsight and look at all of this, there were some red flags. Of course there were. And should we have picked them up? Why didn't we? How could we? All those questions need to be answered," he said, responding to questions about the past history of the alleged shooter.
Hagel has also ordered security reviews to be carried out by Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who is currently in India.
"Yesterday, I directed two department-wide reviews. These reviews will be led by Deputy Secretary Ash Carter, and we will do everything possible to prevent this from happening again," Hagel said.
"First, I directed a review of physical security and access procedures at all DOD installations worldwide. The highest responsibility leaders have is to take care of their people, and our people deserve safe and secure workplaces wherever they are," Hagel told Pentagon reporters.
"Second, Deputy Secretary Carter will also lead a review of DOD's practices and procedures for granting and renewing security clearances, including those held by contractors. This review will be closely coordinated with other federal agencies, including the Director of National Intelligence and Office of Management and Budget, currently examining these procedures," he said.
"I've also directed that an independent panel be established. This independent panel will conduct its own assessment of security at DOD facilities and our security clearance procedures and practices. The panel's work will strengthen Secretary Carter's efforts, and they will provide their findings directly to me," Hagel said.
Hagel said the Defense Department will carefully examine the assessments, conclusions and recommendations of these reviews that will be effectively implemented.
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